A Lack of Experience in a Teacher = A Lack of Proper Education for the Student…

The survey results have already started coming in & I am really thrilled with the results!  My Future Music Educators seem to have benefited greatly from this camp.  The most valuable lessons, according to the surveys, seem to be on classroom management.  This is so interesting because it is the one thing that most colleges completely ignore.  I have been trying to understand why most college curriculum avoid classroom management courses and I have a few hunches:

  • Tradition – It hasn’t been deemed necessary before and it isn’t now.  As musicians, much of our education and training is steeped in tradition and it seems that music ed programs are not much different.
  • Music Ed as Music Performance – There is a great emphasis on music theory, music history, as well as other courses that are required for performance majors and there is no room leftover for one extra class.  This is really a shame, but a reality of our field: the step-sister to performance.  It seems that the teacher mindset is more prominent in music education than it was before, but many music ed majors still seem to have too great of an emphasis on performance and not enough on education…
  • Lack of Teaching Experience – As I look into moving into the college teaching realm, I see more and more the wealth of professors with little to no actual teaching experience in a real classroom.  I think that there is a very real void in the music teacher education field when it comes to our professors.  This void means that the professors often do not fully understand what the future teacher needs in order to be successful in the field.  They see the need for music theory, etc., etc., etc., but the lack of courses on practicum and classroom management is astounding!  I truly attribute this in large part to the lack of teaching experience on behalf of many of our music ed professors.

The FMEC students did so well this week in their camps and were able to address all behavior issues that they encountered thanks to our lessons on classroom management.  In addition, some of them were able to run a lesson even better than many college students by the end of the week according to one of our supervisors.  What success!

During our reflection yesterday, a few things were made apparent:

  • Some students need much more encouragement during Week 2.  One of the most promising FMEC students was so nervous about conducting an ensemble that she wouldn’t do it.  Part of this is because she has not developed any conducting skills (like, the movement), and because one of the students she was working with has a significant amount of conducting experience and made her even more nervous.  This showed me that first of all, I need some conducting lessons to be incorporated into my camp, and second of all, I need to be in contact with the FMEC students every day after their practicum if at all possible, so that I can encourage them the entire way.
  • The most successful moments included either full ensemble rehearsals or major breakthroughs with students.
  • Students really took to heart when they weren’t able to help the campers.  We made it clear that no matter how hard they try, sometimes it just takes forever.

Well, that’s all for now, but more later!

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